Baltimore’s move to join a universal free-lunch program has had the unintended consequence of costing some of the city’s high-poverty schools hundreds of thousands of dollars in other federal aid.
Those losses have prompted principals to cut staff and programs in some cases.
Schools lost money because the district was required to change the way it counts poor students in order to join the lunch program. To be counted now, a family must participate in federal public-assistance programs, such as food stamps. According to the Baltimore Sun, the system tends to undercount children from immigrant families.
District officials say they’ve been trying to make up for the discrepancies, and the state board of education is working on a uniform way to determine school poverty rates.
A version of this article appeared in the March 21, 2018 edition of Education Week as Baltimore’s New Way of Counting Poverty Costs It Thousands in Federal Funding